The Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced one Richard Saviour to life imprisonment for sexually assaulting his wife’s 14-year-old niece and infecting her with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

During the trial, the State Counsel, Mr Ola Azeez, called three witnesses to prove the prosecution’s case while the convict testified in his own defence.

Delivering judgment on the case on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, Justice Oyindamola Ogala held that the evidence provided by all the prosecution witnesses was corroborated and considered the truth.

Ogala said the evidence of the victim was corroborated by the Investigating Police Officer (PW1) and Social Worker from the state Ministry of Youth and Social Welfare (PW3).

According to her, the witnesses established the offence of defilement against the convict.

The testimony before the court clearly depicts the ‘evil’ perpetrated on this young girl and how she was abused both mentally and physically by the defendant and his wife for years,” she said.

“Revealing how she indeed ‘cried out’ for help and was betrayed by those who were supposed to help and support her.

“It is imperative to state at this juncture that the actions of the principal of PW2’s school and the social worker (PW3) are commendable as same eventually brought some succour and relief to PW2, who unfortunately has been permanently ‘scarred’.

Having carefully considered the entirety of facts before the court, it finds that in this instance, the prosecution has satisfactorily proved the one count change the defendant is faced with.”

Ogala said the defendant was desperate to distance himself from the allegation by denying the offences.

She said PW2 succinctly narrated what had transpired between herself and the defendant which the defendant denied.

“The defendant in his evidence before the court indeed narrated how PW2 (the survivor) had at one instance, after running from home to avoid a beating from his wife, ran to the station and he was subsequently informed that PW2 accused him of molesting her.

“The court finds that the totality of the testimony of the defendant who testified in his defence calling no additional witness is in essence a denial of the allegation without more.

“He offered no reliable explanations to the charge aside from attempts to depict PW2 as a stubborn girl and one who stole from himself and his wife,” she added.

The judge said when the police took the victim to the Mirabel Centre, she was tested and found to be HIV positive.

Thereafter, she was transferred to Mary’s Home Orphanage and looked after with the help of Positive Action for Treatment Access, a Non-governmental Organisation.

According to the judge, the Mirabel Centre record of PW2’s genital findings was that her hymen was absent with slight whitish vaginal discharge and concluded that the finding is consistent with repeated vaginal penetration which lends credence to the facts stated by PW2.

The judge, hence, convicted the defendant on the charge of defilement by unlawful sexual assault and sentenced him to life imprisonment in the Correctional Centre.